Both girls were named and shamed in the press, while Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she had been angry they’d placed the community’s wellbeing in danger.
Social networking feeds brimmed with neighborhood outrage, as additional facts concerning the women’s moves came into light. Finally, Queensland Police laid charges against the girls, alleging they provided false and misleading records in the boundary.
While there is no question these girls did exactly the wrong thing, signs from previous health disasters reveals us stigma do not necessarily promote compliance with all public health information. Public shaming could rather further marginalise already exposed groups.
We Have Seen A Great Deal Of Public Shaming During COVID-19
Whether response to movies of people refusing to use masks, or so superspreaders, there has been no lack of public shaming throughout the pandemic. They tested positive back in Australia but allegedly flouted the directive into self-isolate.
The Melbourne few were wealthy white Australians, and their case was dealt with very differently to the youthful Queensland girls that are African American Australian. Unexpectedly, the young girls from Queensland were identified by title, and photos were taken in their Facebook accounts.
The internet anger directed at the girls became racial in character. They were recognizable as non-white and’d attended an African supermarket whilst possibly infectious.
Within hours of those details being printed, members of the African American community in Brisbane reported extreme racist offender on social networking.
The public backlash from the Melbourne couple was muted with their relative anonymity. They have been shielded from the degree of doxxing with one’s individuality and personal information shared broadly online that the young girls have undergone.
Beyond Health Emergencies Show Us Shaming Does Not Work
The prosperity of current research on pandemics and epidemics shows individuals who contract a virus then go on to spread it tend to be subject to public shaming and stigma.
Research also demonstrates that bad, non-white and other disadvantaged groups frequently experience this stigma considerably more seriously than privileged classes.
Significantly, there is compelling evidence public shaming is an ineffective instrument to promote compliance with public health orders and limitations.
Comprehensive research to the stigma experienced by people living with HIV/AIDS has discovered this stigmatisation lowers the likelihood a individual who has the disease will seek out a test, identification or healthcare.
Likewise, studies on the Ebola outbreak found stigma connected with the virus directed individuals in communities to postpone seeking treatment.
Public shaming additionally contributed to significant emotional distress for individuals subjected to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
Public shaming of people who spread COVID-19 might feel cathartic at a period of collective stress, however, the consequences could be severe. In the end, members of the community might become reticent or fearful to be analyzed — notably already marginalised groups.
Pandemic In The Digital Age
Conventional news media has a strong part in people shaming, as noticed in the case of those youthful Queensland girls. The press generates long-term lists and sets the tone for public discussion.
We might assume seeing this type of backlash may pull us into line and dissuade us from acting in precisely the exact same manner.
But experience of stigma and shame in prior pandemics shows it is an ineffective means to boost compliance with all public health dictates. Rather, people shaming is more likely to fortify and inflame existing social inequalities.